RealTime IT News

Stocks Plunge on Job Losses

Stocks suffered their steepest decline in more than two months Thursday after a pair of employment reports came in weaker than expected.

A loss of 33,000 private sector jobs reported by ADP, along with an unexpected jump in weekly jobless claims, painted a grim picture of the job market ahead of the U.S. Labor Department's monthly jobs report due out Friday morning. Weak back to school sales added to fears about the health of the economy.

Ciena (NASDAQ: CIEN) led the tech sector lower, losing a quarter of its value after warning that its quarterly sales will come in well below estimates. RBC Capital Markets analyst Mark Sue said the warning was due to customer caution, and that the company expects the downturn to be short-lived.

Ciena's warning weighed on shares of Cisco (NASDAQ: CSCO) and Juniper (NASDAQ: JNPR), among others.

The weakness in the tech sector was widespread, with the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index (PHI: SOX) and Yahoo (NASDAQ: YHOO) among the names falling to new five-year lows.

Oracle (NASDAQ: ORCL) and TiVo (NASDAQ: TIVO) both fell after suffering legal setbacks, Oracle in a shareholder suit and TiVo after a court hearing failed to produce a ruling in its dispute with Dish Network (NASDAQ: DISH). Oracle has also been hit by caution from analysts ahead of its Sept. 18 earnings report.

Cavium (NASDAQ: CAVM) lost 12% on a Deutsche Bank downgrade.

The Nasdaq plunged 74 to 2259, the S&P tumbled 38 to 1236, and the Dow lost 344 to 11,188. Volume rose to 5.22 billion shares on the NYSE, and 2.38 billion on the Nasdaq. Decliners led by a 28-5 margin on the NYSE, and 22-5 on the Nasdaq. Downside volume was 92% on the NYSE, and 92% on the Nasdaq. New highs-new lows were 20-244 on the NYSE, and 34-157 on the Nasdaq.